Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 31- Michigan Basketball

When I was a little girl, I met Chris Webber, and it was one of the major highlights of my young life.  It was before the infamous time out, the even more infamous cheating on Tyra Banks business, and the not-even-infamous-because-it-erased-his-record-at-U of M-altogether Ed Martin scandal.  No, this was the Chris Webber of yore, my childhood hero.

What I should tell you is that I didn't just meet Chris Webber.  You see, we found out that he was coming to speak at my basketball camp, so my mom decked me out in Michigan gear from head to toe.  Chris spotted me in my full Michigan glory during his talk, called me up to the front, told everyone how wonderful it was that I dressed for his visit, put his arm around me, and took a picture with me that ended up in our local newspaper (my aunt later made this picture into a t-shirt for me).  While other little girls were swooning for JTT, I swooned for Chris Webber.

Imagine how heartbroken I was, then, when the Fab Five came crashing down.  The disappointment continued through the series of failed coaches, NCAA sanctions, and losing seasons that followed.  The worst part of it all was that the passion I had once seen on the court and beyond from our teams had turned into indifference.

Until now.  Last year Tom and I were lucky enough to get to go watch our boys play in the Big Dance in KC, and that experience rivaled the Chris Webber meeting in my bank of Michigan basketball memories.  What fun we had!  Watching the team work their way into a win in the first game was quite rewarding as a fan.  Even though we lost the second round game, we drove home feeling energized and excited about the future of our program.  Michigan is on its way back!  Tom was also excited because he got on tv.  With the sign I made.

Today was a continuation of that feeling.  Even though it has been a so so season, our team has given the fans something to get excited about again.  Today we upset UConn in a battle, and boy did that feel good!  The announcers and many other people questioned why the students rushed the court after the game.  Was it really that big of a deal, after all?  Yes.  It was a big deal to those who have not forgotten how to appreciate the small things- a hard fought win at a pivotal point in a season.  It was a big deal to those who like relentless defense and three pointers and scrappy steals and players who play for their team (not for a major NBA contract).  It was a big deal to the guys working hard on the court to bring back the integrity of a program that has had its share of shame and disappointment.  It was a big deal to the little girl who got to meet Chris Webber all those years ago, only to lose her hero to a timeout and a scandal.

If the NCAA can erase all those memories of the Fab Five and the glory days, maybe John Beilein and his teams can erase all the memories that followed.  

Thank you, Michigan basketball,  you made my day. 

     

0 comments: